Things got a bit escalated that night, however.
This weekend, though, was a really, really good one.
One of the issues we've been dealing with isn't a "poly problem" at all - it's basically the conundrum of integrating our lives, especially where it relates to him and my kids. He doesn't want a stepparent role (and they're old enough where they don't want that, either - their dad lives two miles up the road; they don't want or need another one), but then, what "role" does he have in the house when they're around? What relationship is there between him and my kids?
The kids don't grok the whole "P has two homes" thing. He has a place down south, so to them, that's his home. In their minds, he's a guest here. Mom's boyfriend is spending the day.
My oldest daughter usually keeps him at arms' length. She's 12, almost 13, so that's to be expected anyway, I think, but she's never really loosened up around him. My youngest opened up a while ago, and likes him.
So this weekend seemed like an interesting turning point.
A bit of backstory: my ex-husband is verrrrrry judgmental about alcohol use. To the point where, one night when we were all meeting up for a local minor-league ballgame together (I drove in separately from work and met them there), we met at one of the local brewpubs for dinner before the game. I ordered a 20-oz beer. My ex looked at me and went, "Well, I'm glad we have two cars so YOU don't have to drive the kids home."
Had to go into the science behind it and point out that one 20-oz beer three hours before driving home (with a meal in my belly) was NOT going to mean I was driving drunk, but the seeds are planted in the kids that any alcohol intake = bad / death on the roads.
I hate teaching the kids binary extremes, because when they grow up and realize it's bullshit, they have no yardstick for measuring what *is* reasonable or not. And they tend to wonder if *everything* you've said is bullshit. But I digress.
This weekend, we went out for dinner (I was DYING for Lebanese food), and ordered a beer with dinner. My oldest pointed out that I shouldn't be having a beer if I'm driving home, which led to a really good discussion about the science behind it, how having a drink with dinner doesn't make one an alcoholic, and how we all understand and work within our limits (and how, if we make the choice not to, we also make sure we're not going anywhere and are safe at home). How we learned our limits by making dumb decisions and learning from them, and how everyone goes through that. Even me. Even P. Even their dad.
My youngest is still a bit of a worrier and wants the reassurance that I'm not an alcoholic (sigh), but my oldest seemed to appreciate and enjoy being spoken to like an adult. After that conversation, she seemed to open up to P, including him in conversations ("Hey P, look at this...") when she never did before, etc. The change was abrupt and really very cool to watch.
There are other things going on, too - I seem to be the only one working on enforcing general respectful behavior with them (saying "hello" or "goodbye", for example, rather than totally ignoring people, not backtalking, that type of thing), and that all kind of gelled this weekend. The kids were happy, we were all happy, and while I'm not expecting it to suddenly go this well all the time, it was a nice thing to have happen.
P didn't feel like he had to step out to give me time with the kids. We were all together, and it felt normal and relaxing. And fun.
As an aside, playing "Apples to Apples" with a house rule of "you don't get to look at your cards before you put them down" is a HELL of a fun time.
So, yeah. Good weekend. The roller coaster is getting out of the trough. Yay that.
Me: Mono. Divorced, 2 kids (DanceGirl & PokéGirl), 2 cats, 1 house, many projects.
Chops: My partner. Poly, divorced, 2 kids.
Xena: Chops' other partner, Poly. In a relationship with Shaggy
Choplet: Chops' son
Noa, City, CheeseGirl, Curls: In relationships with Chops
Shaggy: Poly, in a relationship with Xena, ex of Bunny
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|divorce, family, metamour, mono/poly, vee|